Shoals and schools: back to the heuristic definitions and quantitative references

Shoals and schools: back to the heuristic definitions and quantitative references The terms ‘shoal’, ‘swarm’ and ‘school’ are very frequently used in research on collective behaviours in animals. Pitcher’s definitions are accepted as the authority in the field but are based on a conceptual criterion of sociability. Without call into question the basis of these definitions, they do not provide tools to determine these behaviours quantitatively. To compare studies between populations, species, taxa or different experimental treatments, and between different authors, quantitative references are necessary. Quantitative measurements of collective behaviours can also test and validate the predictive capacity of computer models by comparing real data from nature so that different models can be compared. The first part of this paper succinctly reviews the definitions and meanings of these behaviours, with particular attention paid to quantitative aspects. This review underlines a series of conceptual confusions concerning these behavioural terms observed in the scientific literature and oral scientific communications. The second part reviews the quantitative parameters developed by biologists studying collective fish behaviours, mainly fish shoals, and by theoretical biologists and physicists studying computer modelling of collective behaviours. The parameters reviewed herein make no attempt to explain the mechanisms and causes that create a shoal, a swarm or a school, but rather try to describe these collective behaviours, and to connect local and global properties with individual and collective behaviours. Recent development over the last decade in technology, data processing capacity, cameras, and video tracking tools have provided the opportunity to obtain quantitative measures of collective dynamic behaviours in animals both rapidly and precisely. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries Springer Journals

Shoals and schools: back to the heuristic definitions and quantitative references

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Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright
Copyright © 2012 by Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Subject
Life Sciences; Zoology; Freshwater & Marine Ecology
ISSN
0960-3166
eISSN
1573-5184
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11160-012-9260-z
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The terms ‘shoal’, ‘swarm’ and ‘school’ are very frequently used in research on collective behaviours in animals. Pitcher’s definitions are accepted as the authority in the field but are based on a conceptual criterion of sociability. Without call into question the basis of these definitions, they do not provide tools to determine these behaviours quantitatively. To compare studies between populations, species, taxa or different experimental treatments, and between different authors, quantitative references are necessary. Quantitative measurements of collective behaviours can also test and validate the predictive capacity of computer models by comparing real data from nature so that different models can be compared. The first part of this paper succinctly reviews the definitions and meanings of these behaviours, with particular attention paid to quantitative aspects. This review underlines a series of conceptual confusions concerning these behavioural terms observed in the scientific literature and oral scientific communications. The second part reviews the quantitative parameters developed by biologists studying collective fish behaviours, mainly fish shoals, and by theoretical biologists and physicists studying computer modelling of collective behaviours. The parameters reviewed herein make no attempt to explain the mechanisms and causes that create a shoal, a swarm or a school, but rather try to describe these collective behaviours, and to connect local and global properties with individual and collective behaviours. Recent development over the last decade in technology, data processing capacity, cameras, and video tracking tools have provided the opportunity to obtain quantitative measures of collective dynamic behaviours in animals both rapidly and precisely.

Journal

Reviews in Fish Biology and FisheriesSpringer Journals

Published: Mar 11, 2012

References

  • Front individuals lead in shoals of three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) and juvenile roach (Rutilus rutilus)
    Bumann, D; Krause, J
  • Mortality risk of spatial positions in animal groups: the danger of being in the front
    Bumann, D; Krause, J; Rubenstein, D
  • New statistical tools for analyzing the structure of animal groups
    Cavagna, A; Cimarelli, A; Giardina, I; Orlandi, A; Parisi, G; Procaccini, A; Santagati, R; Stefanini, F
  • The STARFLAG handbook on collective animal behaviour. 1: empirical methods
    Cavagna, A; Giardina, I; Orlandi, A; Parisi, G; Procaccini, A; Viale, M; Zdravkovic, V
  • Diffusion about the mean drift location in a biased random walk
    Codling, EA; Bearon, RN; Thorn, GJ
  • Collective memory and spatial sorting in animal groups
    Couzin, ID; Krause, J; James, R; Ruxton, GD; Franks, NR
  • Fish lateral system is required for accurate control of shoaling behaviour
    Faucher, K; Parmentier, E; Becco, Ch; Vandewalle, N; Vandewalle, P
  • The biological principles of swarm intelligence
    Garnier, S; Gautrais, J; Theraulaz, G

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